Ohio MAC's Only Team in NCAA Field

Despite 22 wins on the season and a berth in the finals of the Mid-American Conference Men's Tournament, the University At Buffalo was left out of the field of 65 in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament on Sunday. Only Ohio, who beat UB 80-79 in overtime Saturday night in Cleveland's Gund Arena, got in the tournament with the MAC automatic bid.Miami who was the number one seed in the MAC but upset by Ohio in the semi-finals, also was left out of the NCAA "Big Dance" despite 19 wins & RPI of 28.

Other teams left out included Conference USA's DePaul, the Big East's Notre Dame and St. Joseph's of the Atlantic 10, despite each of them having 19 wins on the season. The MAC did get a record four teams from the league into the National Invitational Tournament. Western Michigan traveled to Marquette Monday night and beat the Warriors 54-40. The Broncos will play the winner of Miami, Ohio, who will host Conference USA opponent TCU. Kent State will travel to Western Kentucky, a match-up of 2004-05 Herd opponents. Drexel(17-12) will travel to Buffalo. Conference USA teams in 2005-06 to the NIT includes tournament runner-up Memphis hosting Northeastern and Rice visiting Southwest Missouri State.

The current members of Conference USA to get a bid to the NCAAs were four teams, including Cincinnati and Louisville, who along with DePaul, South Florida and Marquette, will join the Big East for 2005. UAB, who will remain in the league, received a number 11 seed and will play number six LSU in Boise, Idaho, on Thursday. Other new members next year in C-USA include UTEP, who won the WAC and is seeded number 11. They will meet number six Utah in Tucson on Thursday. UCF, who won the Atlantic Sun in their last go around, will be a number 15 seed and meet number two-seeded UConn in Worchester, Mass.

Ohio will be seeded number 13 and will meet former Marshall coaches Billy Donavan, Donnie Jones and Anthony Grant and his number four seeded Florida Gators in Nashville, Tenn., on Friday. Other former MU coaches and players in the tourney include MU head coach (1989-90) Dana Altman, assistant coach Brian Fish (Herd basketball 1986-89 and GA coach for Altman at MU in 1989-90) and the Creighton Blue Jays, who are a number 10 seed and met the Mountaineers of WVU in Cleveland State's building on Thursday. The winner of this game may face former Southern Conference rival, UT-Chattanooga, but only if the number 15 seeded Mocs pull the huge upset of the number two Demon Deacons of Wake Forest, who have former MU play-by-play announcer Stan Cotten on their network.

Other former Marshall staffers include Georgia Tech play-by-play announcer Wes Durham, who was at MU in the mid-1980s. His Jackets are a number five seed and take on number 12 George Washington. Former MU assistant coach Gregg Marshall, here with Greg White the first two seasons, will take his number 14 seeded Winthrop Eagles to Tucson on Thursday for a match-up with the number three Zags of Gonzaga. Other local teams include number 15 EKU, of the Ohio Valley Conference, whose coach, Travis Ford played at Kentucky. He and the Colonels will match-up with the number two seeded Wildcats in Indianapolis on Thursday.

On the women's side, Bowling Green was also the only women's team from the MAC to get a bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Falcons, who were number one in the MAC and beat number two Eastern Michigan on Saturday, will be a number 13 seed in the Tournament and meet number four Kansas State. Teams remaining in Conference USA who made the "Big Dance" include number 11 Rice, who will play number six Georgia, and number 10 seed Houston, who will face number seven Boston College. Locally, Ohio State and EKU women's teams both made the Big Dance.

In the Women's National Invitational Tournament, Eastern Michigan made the field of 32 and will play at the University of Kentucky on Friday. Conference USA placed three teams in the field, including UNCC at Wake Forest, Marquette hosting Nebraska and South Florida hosting the Gators of Florida. New members of C-USA to get in the WNIT included SMU at Southwest Missouri State and Tulsa at Texas A&M. Also getting in the WNIT was WVU, who will host Maine.


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